Friday, December 24, 2010
Born on this date in 1971, Dave "Moose" Morissette was a bruising left winger who amassed penalty minutes by the hundreds.
He played his junior hockey with the Shawnigan Cataractes and his toughness instantly earned earned him the role as one of the team's enforcers, as Morisette finished second on the team in penalty minutes as a rookie with 298, which was good for fifth in the QMJHL in 1989.
The following season he led the team in penalty minutes as he slugged his way to 269 PIMs, placing sixth overall. After seasons of 15 and 11 points, Morissette found his offensive game for the only time of his career when he netted 20 goals and 26 assists in addition to the expected 224 penalty minutes to again lead the team.
Following his final season of junior hockey, Morissette was drafted by the Washington Capitals in the 1991 NHL Entry Draft. He played the 1991-92 season with the Hampton Roads Admirals of the East Coast Hockey League, who went 42-20-0-2 and went on to win the Riley Cup as champions of the ECHL. Morissette of course led the Admirals with 293 penalty minutes, eighth in the league.
He returned to Hampton Roads the following season as the Admirals defended their title to capture their second consecutive ECHL championship. He improved upon is 16 points the previous season with 9 goals and 22 points, which would prove to be career highs as a professional. He would also surpass the 200 penalty minute mark once again with 226.
Morissette played for the ECHL's Roanoke Express in 1993-94, with his team leading 278 PIM's placing him in the top ten in the notoriously rugged ECHL.
For the 1994-95 season, "Moose" moved up to the International Hockey League, appropriately enough with the expansion Minnesota Moose and became an instant fan favorite thanks to his outgoing personality and rough and tumble style. After two seasons and 83 games with the Moose, he moved down south to join the Houston Aeros for two seasons, the second of which, 1997-98, had Morissette once again leading his team in penalty minutes with 254, the third highest of his professional career.
After seven minor league seasons, Morissette was rewarded with his first NHL action after signing as a free agent with the Montreal Canadiens for the 1998-99 season. He would play ten games for Montreal that season and manage to participate in six fights. While in the AHL that season, he saw action in 39 games with the Fredericton Canadiens as well as 12 playoff games.
While in the NHL, Morisette fought several renowned heavyweights, including Bob Probert
The Fredericton franchise was relocated and renamed for 1999-00, becoming the Quebec Citadelles, with whom Morissette played 47 games, amassing 231 penalty minutes to lead the Citadelles. He played in a single game for Montreal in the NHL, earning a major penalty for a fight.
His career wound down in 2000-01 with five games with the Lake Charles Ice Pirates of the Western Professional Hockey League and 13 games in England with the London Knights of the British Ice Hockey Super League. In just 13 games with the Knights, Morissette made his presence known with 117 penalty minutes but had his season cut short and his career ended by a concussion which knocked him out for 30 minutes.
Morissette while with the London Knights
His final combined totals were 673 games played, 69 goals and 104 assists for 173 points and 2,943 minutes in penalties, the equivalent of 49 complete games in the box!
Following his career, Morissette wrote a book in 2005 before the NHL even had a drug testing policy, Mémoires d'Un Dur à Cuire (Memories of an Enforcer). The book, written in French, detailed his steroid use throughout his career as a warning to others about the dangers of steroids and how he feels they shortened his career.
Today's featured jersey is a 1999-00 Quebec Citadelles Dave Morissette jersey as worn during his only season with the Citadelles with the typical North American sponsorship logo on the upper right chest.
This attractive jersey features the unusual choice of a goat head for the team's logo, which was the mascot of the Royal 22nd Regiment, which was stationed in the Citadel of Quebec. The team played in Quebec for just three seasons before relocating to Hamilton where they were renamed the Bulldogs.
A well travelled franchise, it began in 1969 in Montreal as the Voyageurs before moving to Nova Scotia, then Sherbrooke, Quebec and then Frederiction before relocating for the fourth time to Quebec.
Bonus Jerseys: We have two bonus jerseys today. First is a 1998-99 Montreal Canadiens Dave Morissette jersey as worn during the season Morissette got is first taste of NHL action.
Our second bonus jersey is a 1997-98 Houston Aeros Dave Morissette jersey. This jersey is one of the most popular minor league jerseys of all time, and when the club changed to a new modern fighter jet logo, the outcry was so great that that the team restored the classic bomber logo to their jerseys the following season. Like the Citadelles jersey, it also has a sponsorship patch on the right chest.
The Moose is loose! Morissette takes on NHL veteran Al Secord, then with the Chicago Wolves and beats him into the ice in 1994-95. Then, Jason Simon of the Denver Grizzlies gets pounded by Morissette to give you a perfect example of his straight ahead style of taking a punch to give a punch which made him a fan favorite at each stop in his career.
Here, Morissette holds his own with Probert in his third NHL fight in October of 1998 as he tries to establish himself in the NHL.
In this slugfest, Ken Baugartner of the Bruins and Morissette really go at it for quite some time in Morissette's next fight nine days later.
In some AHL action, Morissette of the Fredericton Canadiens trades blows with Rocky Thompson of the Saint John Flames in the 1998-99 season. Note the theme from "Rocky" playing in the background, a nice touch by the in arena crew in Saint John.
In our final video today, while this interview mainly focuses on guest Scott Gomez, it's conducted by the bi-lingual Morissette and gives you some insight into his infectious personality which made him so popular.